tv The Cycle MSNBC September 11, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
fight for our freedom. it's an honor to spend this hour on this solemn day with you. we start with ron allen at ground zero. tell us what's going on down there right now. >> reporter: it's been another powerful and emotional day here, a day unique as each anniversary is. this one defined by the fact that the crowd was perhaps much smaller than in years past. perhaps a thousand people here on the september 11th memorial plaza behind me. you can see down there amidst the trees there are still a few people milling about. you see the two pools of the water with the endless waterfalls. the names of those perished etched around the walls. people there to pay tribute. this anniversary was striking because for the first time, politicians and government officials were asked not to speak at the event. it was designed to focus purely on the families and survivors. they didn't want the event politicized because we're in such a campaign year. that gave it a very different feel, but still a lot of power
and emotion. the other thing that was different this year is perhaps there's more progress here at ground zero. for example, we're on the 22nd floor of world trade center 1 set to re-open -- set to open i should say in 2014 when it reached 104 stories and 776 feet at its completion. there's also more rebuilding going on. tower 4 is on its way up as well as 2 and 3 are much smaller. that gave them a sense things are moving on with progress. for so many years when there was bureaucracy nothing was happening here. this progress is comforting to some people that came here. of course, it's still a very difficult time. people will never forget what happened here. when you break it down to individuals and you talk to them about the loved ones lost, their lives come full-blown in front of you and you remember firefighters, police officers, accountants, people on the subway, people in the neighborhood and of course there
are still lingering effecting and deadly effects from the toxic fumes in the air. in so many ways 11 years later things are different and unique, but people still battle and struggle to deal with what happened here. to some extent we have perhaps turned a corner. there are a number of communities that did not hold formal ceremonies this year. some saying athat septembthe te anniversary last year was emotional kre send doe, they thought it was time to turn the corner and do it in a private, less public way. that's where we are today. still, a very powerful moving moment to be here, especially with the families of those that lost loved ones. back to you. >> nbc's ron allen. thank you. president obama and the first lady marked the somber anniversary this morning leading a moem of silence outside the white house. he visited the pentagon and arlington national cemetery, while vice president biden was at shanksville, pennsylvania. mitt romney spent the day visiting first responders in the national guard.
a lot has changed in 11 years since 9/11, including our national defense. we started two wars both in the name of 9/11, two very costly wars. a fact that is eping to shape the presidential campaign. the pentagon budget is 55% higher than it was. the first cut is 487 billion in cuts over the next decade. congress agreed a year ago and president obama signed it as part of the budget control act last summer. the military says with smart changes it could operate under the cuts without jeopardizing preparedness. the second set is for another 500 billion. it would trigger into effect in january if congress and the white house can't cut a deal to slash the deficit by another trillion tlars. no one wants this second round of cuts. not the president, not mitt romney, not congress. it's a mechanism congress put in place to hold their own feet to the fire. a penalty for not reaching a larger debt deal. but the odds this congress agreeing on anything seems
unlikely. republicans are blaming the president for not leading washington to a compromise, and the romney camp is using the cuts in campaign ads telling swing state voters they could lose their jobs because of it. former congressman joe sestak has been on both side the of the debates in serving his country in the house and military. >> thank you for leading off this segment with the 9/11 victims and the surviving families. i walked out of the pentagon, and about 30 minutes later the plane went into that building. people i knew and served with didn't come out. thank you for that. >> thanks for joining us. i want to bring your attention as we sort of set the scene for this defense cut debate. i want to bring your attention to a quote from a speech obama gave, i think, last july at the vets of foreign wars 113th annual national convention in reason reno, nevada. >> instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit,
they'd rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest americans even if risks big cuts until the military. i have to tell you, vfw, i disagree. >> on the one hand you have republicans saying they're going to protect the tax cuts and put the military on the line. you have democrats blaming republicans for making defense cuts, the sacred cow even though coburn and rand paul call for defense cuts. you have mitt romney attacking the defense cuts at that his running mate paul ryan voted for. it seems as though everyone is willing to make defense spending a political football, and i can't think of a sadder commentary on the state of washington politics than on this day to be having that conversation. >> you're spot on. we can do much better as sprg a 21st century military instead of holding onto to too much of a cold war military. take the example of an aircraft carrier today. within 24 hours it can strike
eight times of the targets that it could do just over 15 years ago. so instead of procuring another aircraft carrier, another hull for $11 billion, how about take half that money and help put it into the south china sea and insonify that entire sea with a sensor system that can give us real time information so we can target it in real time. that's what our aircraft can do on an aircraft carrier today because they're netted to the drones and the satellites around the world. so we are using the wrong force sizing metric from the cold war today. it's about capability and about knowledge like whether we got bin laden so you have a more agile and smarter force you alluded to earlier in order to get the adversary. that's the change that continues to need to be brought about instead of using the military as a football. what's the strategy and what's
the threats they go after and the capability and not size you need to accomplish the mission? >> what are the cuts set for this coming january, specifically you had the trigger pulled by the failure of the deficit supercommittee last year to reach a deal that says unless congress acts otherwise between now and january, there will be $600 billion of cuts phased in this january for the pentagon. is that something that the defense department can afford. they say nethey have no plans right now. is this a devastating cut in your view? >> that amount of money over ten years is not a devastating cut if you change a strategy and the type of force metrics that you use to procure it. for example, the four-sizing metric still in the new strategy that was announced this past january by the defense department, secretary panetta, is still based on the whole, on the same sizing met frick that general powell announced in
1990, which is we have to fight two land wars. that metric is still there in today's new defense strategies, so if you say you still need the same logistical force, the same command and control for two land works, iraq and south korea is no longer needing a land force from you in order to protect it, we could do it with air power, what's the new strategy? that's what's missing in in debate. a strategy and force capability metric, not one based on how many ships and aircraft when each can do so much more than before. >> let's go into the military aspect of it a little more. you talk about the difference between a cold war military and a 21st century military. the tactics are different and the nature of victory is different. are we prepared as a military,
are we adjusted to the modern way of fighting, or are we not there dwryet? >> no, we're not there yet. for example, china to where the president has rightly shifted the focus in the western pacific, which is the center of gravity for america not just in tec terms of security but our economic interests. it has 80 submarines today. we have 50. do we want to procure another 30 at $2 billion a pop and try to have each submarine find each other like needles in a haystack or procure a netted sensor system that personifies the south and east china sea to use the knowledge as it links it up to it a satellite for an aircraft to go over and drop a torpedo. that type of knowledge-based capability is what future warriors need in their hands, not just another aircraft carrier if it can strike eight times of the targets it used to be able to. that's the change in the mindset
of the defense department but congress members who protect the depot and the ship building industry in their districts. >> speaking of that, if i could ask you to put your political hat on for a minute. it seems like a lot of debate over defense spending isn't driven by what our security interests are, it's driven by the politics, both members of congress who see this as a jobs program and by the massive amounts of money spent by defense contractors if in 2011 alone. you had over $33 million spent by defense contractors to essentially protect their business. how do you fight against that landscape? >> what a great question. first off, our military budget should keep in mind as we put it together when you started this segment about 9/11, when we got struck. are we pro kurg tcuring the rig weapons systems so our men and women can go out and fight but come home? second, the numbers thrown about are truly deceiving. take the aerospace industry study that came out and said
we'll loss a million jobs if the sequester goes through. in the entire aerospace and defense sector, there's only 3.4 million jobs. if you have a 10% cut, are you going to lose 33% of all jobs? second, mind you that when you do have procurement cut in research and development that most defense firms are out and about doing, you don't get all that money in the first year. only 20% of it is spent the first year. the rest is spent over two, three, and four years so the defense industries have time for normal attrition and retirement to be cushioned from the blow. the bottom line of everything is think about our future warriors. can they find that submarine and find the future bin laden, because we gave them the right instruments of war. it's not a jobs program. it's a war and defeat the enemy program. >> admiral joe, thanks so much for joining us. >> great to be with you. coming up later detail of the days immediately following
the 9/11 attacks. how decisions were made and who was lied to. for many of us what happened on this day is unforgettable, but what about the generation that doesn't remember it? how do we respect the fast and look forward. somebody let bob woodward near the white house again. that's ahead on this tuesday, september 11th. it's inspiring to be in the company of men and women of the national guard, men and women of courage that i stand before today. it's an honor to be among those whose sense of duty and love of country lift our hearts and our spirits. >> when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division. it will be a safer world, a stronger nation, and a people
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yesterday we looked at the bounce the president got out of the pep rally called the dnc. we asked how long is this going to last? the answer is whatever you want it to be. not too long, wait and see, whatever you want. these are the tracking polls from yesterday showing the president ahead of romney by five points. here's the same two polls today. one has the lead down to three and the other went up to 6. in addition to that a new poll puts the race at a tie. steve, we thought the numbers would come back down to earth. the sugar high analogy and the
romney pollster memo made sense, but the polls are all over the place. gallup is going up. rasmussen is going down. you say we have to look at the average of all the polls? >> yes, please. this is the most important piece of advice i can import on anybody in terms of interpreting this race. don't look at the individual poll and make a judgment. look at the averages. huffington post does it. >> why take the average? >> last night cnn comes in, six-point lead for obama. big bounce. this morning abc news "washington post" comes in, one-point lead, conditional dead heat. gallup comes out with a six-point lead for obama. he's back. you have all the noise from these, and you have margins of error built in, and you can pick and choose whichever one you want. >> what do you mean by the noise? just explain it? >> the noise of it's a dead heat right now. the noise of wow, obama is pulling away. >> outlier polls.
>> if you want to be skeptical, you can say with the margin of error that six could be it three or that one could be a two two-point lead for romney. it's open to all the interpretation with one individual poll. take them and add them altogether, average them altogether, and what you see is something that's reliable and doesn't have that kind of margin of error. right now if you average the polls out there together, if you use real clear politics average, the lead for obama on average right now is 3.5 points as of this afternoon. >> what was it before? >> before as the republican convention was starting, it was zero. it basically stayed zero through the republican convention. it went up to 3.5. the most significant thing is look the at those trend lines. this is the real clear politics average going back to the spring. obama is ahead by between roughly one and four points. >> why would a group of professional experienced pole sters get wildly different the results? >> voters, nonregistered voters
and a whole mess of reasons why. >> there's a margin of error. it's not crazy with a poll that says 6 and one that says 1. if you average them together, this is about three points if you put them altogether. look at the trend line over months. if we're at a point here where the republican convention and the democratic convention cancel each other out and we're back where we started, that doesn't mean we're in a dead even race. we're in a race that obama is winning by a small and significant and steady margin. >> even if you take the advantages, which i agree are better, you still have to believe that polls are predictive and polls matter and mean something. even if it's an average of them. you still have to believe in the art of poling as a predictive indicator of who is going to win an election. >> or as a snapshot of where things stand right now. that's right. i would look at that and say romney is going to lose this election. i say romney has been losing this election, doesn't mean he's going to in november. as of right now he is.
>> that's the fundamental place we are. looking forward i would say romney it looks like failed to change those dynamics through the convention. the democrats are the net winners or, you know, kept things even. by even i mean with obama in the lead. the next chance for romney to shift the game is at the debaess and the first one is october 3rd. he said while voters are open to firing obama, they remain quite reticent about romney. debates can and have been critical, but they work better for candidates who need to demonstrate that they are smart and knowledgeable, tests romney met and passed long ago. debates are tougher venues for demonstrates elm pat yi and developing trust. charlie cook says that's what romney needs to work on. that's true, but he also built up this narrative of himself as the problem solver and the data guy, and then he brought in paul ryan who is the budget details guy. so they had this veneer, and now
that voters are looking at them and saying, you're the problem solver. how do you solve this problem? there's not a lot there. even beyond solving that empathy gap, there's a danger for romney "nightly news" in t in the debates to see there aren't answers there behind the talking points. when you're on the stage with your competitor, and they can push you on points, he has to get better answers or feeling like it's competent and knowledgeable is going to fall apart. >> we don't take the electoral college, not the popular vote. people say here's what's going on in ohio and in florida, and you're like, no. look at the national numbers. why? >> if obama is leading by three and a half points on average nationally, then he's going to lead in all the swing states. it's not that romney has a problem and extra problem with the electoral problem. romney is losing nationally. take that average lead nationally. show me and put romney ahead by three.
we swing at 6.5 points, if that happens romney is looking better in ohio, virginia, colorado, everywhere. >> the obama campaign doesn't make that calculus, because they focus on microtargets in different states. >> they all do. if you move the national number, you move on the swing states. >> the man famgs for breaking the watergate scandal is back somehow taking americans inside the tense debate last summer while the white house and congress tried it to hammer out a debt deal territory that has been covered many, many times. bob woodward's new book is called "the price of politics." it looks at how the administration has repeatedly clashed with republicans over the past three and a half years when it comes to spending and tax policy. woodward sat down with with an sbeer view with abc's diane sawyer. >> you really say in the book nobody nervous dharnlg. is that the president's fault? >> well, my conclusion is president clinton, president reagan and if you look at them and criticize them for lots of
things. they by and large worked their will. >> and he did not? >> on this president obama did not. >> is that a failure of leadership? >> you know, some people are going to say he was fighting a brick wall, the republicans in the house and the republicans in congress. others will say it's the president's job to figure out how to tear down that brick wall. >> the "l.a. times" calls this book mind numbingly dull, but this point about presidents work their will is most constructive. are they kings? are we missing something? they tell everyone in washington that's what i want to do, and they do it? >> magical wizards and not kings. >> that's complete baloney how bill clinton worked his will. in the 1990s he got his budget through on a tiebreaker vote in the senate with no republican help in 1993. he had a showdown with republicans in 1995. he didn't get his way on that. there were a few modest compromises in the second half
of the administration. if he worked his will, health care reform would have been done under bill clinton. >> how does bob woodward get interviews anymore? i said yesterday i said all the president's men is one of my best movies. if he's walking toward you, you're running away. the access he gets when clearly it's going to demolish you. >> if they have this quote-unquote neutral observer in the room, then their version of the story, the true version is really going to come out. >> they want the chance to shape i history, right? everybody wants to be famous. >> good thing the book is so boring no one will read it. >> the krystal ball review. up next a book that politico calls "moneyball" for politics. a book we loved, the secret science of winning campaigns. which presidential campaign is working the right formula? ♪ ♪ [ sneezes ] [ male announcer ] if you have yet to master the quiet sneeze...
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we like to think of elections as the greatest spr expression of free choice, but our next guest says smart campaigns knowing what you're going to do even before you do it. there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than most people realize. statisticians, behaviorally psychologists, randomized experiments on voters and more. it's all part of the game now. in the guest spot today is bill james of politics, sasha eisenberg looks aat the politics in this election. i'm going with bill james. sasha, both campaigns, obama and romney at this point, have been criticized at some point or another for seeming unprepared. obama's campaign for the question of are you better off
now than what you were four years ago? romney for sort of demurring on the tax release issue for what seems like an eternity now. is this chaos, as it appears to you, or is it really sort of controlled and intentional chaos part of a strategy? >> i don't think either of those two examples are necessarily part of a strategy. i think there's a whole lot going on under the surface that is incredibly disciplined, well thought out. i think we often dwell on sort of flubs and many controversies from spokespeople. beneath the tip the of the iceberg is a whole world of campaigning taking place out of our sights, individually interacting with voters. far reacher interactions in the field, on the dprouground than give campaigns credit for. i think at times those distractions that we're focusing on are not where the real action is on a given day. >> sasha, i dig the book a lot. congratulations.
congratulations on writing a great book. not that i like it, but other people will like it. you write a lot about the impact of social pressure. if campaigns send mail to people saying this is how you voted, this is how your neighbors have voted and we'll tell you begin after we close the polls, that motivates people to go to the polls more than anything. why does it work so well, and talk about why a lot of campaigns are afraid to use it? >> it was done in michigan in 2006 where they had their own vote history which is a lift of elections. you voted in the 2009 primary and didn't vote in the 2008 school board election, and all of the neighbors vote histories and then said there's another election coming up. afterwards we send everybody an updated set. this had more of an impact driving people to the polls than anything else through the experiments. you know, it's what behavioral skapsychologists call social pressure. they want to live up to images
or expectation of others, they want to fit in. you know, all of the things we've learned over the last decade in this scientific revolution point to one big idea, which is we have tended to think of campaigns as this sort of contest to change people's opinions. i think increasingly the smartest people in campaigns are looking at ways to change people's behaviors. often those come through looking at the social dynamics not just the moment casting a ballot, but before hand and during and the way they interact with the people around them. >> it's a little bit depressing to think we've given up on changing people's minds. we get them to do what we want. >> pub shaming. >> microtargeting is obviously very effective through the mail, in person contact, through the internet, but it's clunkier to do on tv. you can't just be on the tv screens that you want to be on, and that's where the bulk of money is being spent in campaigns. is that the smartest use of campaign dollars?
>> well, it depends where what you're trying to do. television remains a sort of amazing medium. you can show your candidate moving, talking, which sounds banal but is something that is a real difference than something you see in direct mail or on a robocall or having a canvasser repeat a message to somebody at the door. what is interesting this year is that the quality of web advertising is improving, and partly because ads can be targeted at the individual level either by mobile phones or over web browsers. so online advertising is starting to become a fusion of the best of direct mail where you can talk to an individual voter and know that you you reached them and all the sort of richness of video and audio. i think we're sort of seeing a convergence online of the two different traditions. it might allow people to get off conventional tv. people are consuming stuff online because you can be far more knowledgeable about who you talk to. >> sasha, i ask you specific
ally to make based on what you learn about campaigns run, maybe decode a little bit of romney's strategy. something jumps out at me. they're running on this broad, nonspecific economic message. if you don't like how things are, vote out the incumbent. he's doing things that we don't normally associate with general elections. this past weekend he was on stage with pat robertson. he's talking about, you know, the idea of democrats taking god out of government and taking god off the currency. he endorsed steve king, a very far right congressman in iowa. it seems strange for him to do in a general election. i wonder if you have any insight into what the thinking there might be? >> we have to understand that the lens through which we look at elections now is persuasion is far less important because there are so few voters persuadable. the polls are 7% or 8% up to undecided if you average across them. maybe there are another 3% or 5% on each side who are soft
supporters that can possibly defect. 12%, 15% of voters in play for persuasion message, and the rest are ready to be mobilized. this has sort of been the new normal after 2000, so campaigns are looking for behavioral tools and targeted messages that will help mobilize people who are existing supporters but not yet sort of driven to vote. sort of far more than they're trying to change minds. >> sasha, real quick, who is winning in this war? >> i think the advantages of incumbent see are hard to overestimate in this case, and obama is basically in a sort of five-year research and development plan, which is one of the rare times that campaigns can act like sort of corporations. i think the ambition and scale and scope of what's going on in chicago is way ahead of what boston is up to at the time. >> thanks for joining us. >> thanks. straight ahead inside the days immediately following 9/11.
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...but you still have to go to the gym. ♪ the one and only, cheerios war on terror became a household phrase, but there were decisions made behind closed doors at the highest levels of government. decisions ordinary americans were kept in the dark about at least until now. the next guest is the author of a book detailing what he calls a world of secrets and lies. he conducted 600 hours of interviews and chronicles the first 18 months after the attacks in his new book, "500 days." thanks for being with us. you write about the infamous memo received by by president
bush about bin laden striking in the u.s. but a lot of information leads you to the conclusion that there was in the bush administration, quote, significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. how much information did they ignore, and why did they ignore it? >> well, it's a complex question. the first part is easy. they had a lot of information. they were getting information in may that there was a cell in the united states that was planning to strike. they were getting information that it was going to be a big operation. there were going to be mass casualties. one of the big problems you had, though, was getting past the level of disbelief. you have to remember that the bush administration came in. the republicans had been out of the white house. during that time national security went from countries to being about guys on the tops of mountains in afghanistan. they just didn't buy it. so when you had the cia coming
in and saying al qaeda, the pentagon pushed back and said, no, no. it's a fake. bin laden isn't a real threat. he's just trying to gin stuff up so we don't pay attention to iraq. >> kurt, speaking of iraq, one of the things that i'm still trying to figure out is how exactly and why exactly we ended up going to war with iraq. can you take us behind the scenes in that decision-making process? >> the decision-making process was really ugly. there are a few things that come out in "500 days." one is that the defense intelligence agency did an assessment of our intelligence on iraq and concluded that it was terrible. that we really did not know very much. the cia iraq group was cut out of the loop and really everything was being run on a very high level within the pentagon and the vice president's office, dick cheney's office. so what you had were people who firmly believed that saddam had
weapons of mass destruction and weren't -- and if someone came in and said they around there, they just thought they were wrong. so you ended up with this push, this pressure to go in even when the intelligence was coming back saying, there's nothing there. >> kurt, i have a basic question. you laid out a lot of what's in your book in a "new york times" op-ed today. as you detail it now, this is some really explosive, sort of blockbuster stuff. is there a reason why this is running on the opinion page, though, and not a news story? >> yeah, because i don't work there. i mean, one of the things about the dais-- i used to work at "t new york times." if you're somebody outside the building, you write for the op up-ed page or the magazine. so some people have been twittering that there's a conspiracy with that, and it's simply that's the way the world works. >> kurt, have we changed enough,
has the military, the defense, the intelligence community, have we changed and grown and learned enough from this that we're not vulnerable and can prevent another attack, or do we still have growing to do? >> we always have growing to do. the biggest problem in any national security issue is the one of fighting the last war, which if you think about it, that's exactly what i was describing before. the republican -- new republican white house was looking at their last war, the iraqs of the world. now we are -- we still have this mindset of this unified concept of al qaeda. when i say "we," i mean the public. the intelligence world knows what we're dealing with now is a multi-headed hydra with hundreds of heads. the truth is that while there's less ability to have a massively orchestrated strike, the
difficulties of preventing a strike is much harder because you just have so many different places where the information is held very, very tightly. >> you know, guys, i think kurt's book speaks to the outrage that's been well documented over the iraq war and what happened after 9/11 from a foreign policy standpoint. i have to wonder if you'll find that same outrage in a few years, maybe after obama has been out of office or if he gets a second term, after that, over this administration's seemingly unchecked hostility to civil liberties, whether it's in the drone attacks, the aassassinations of american citizens without due process, the espinage act. glenn green wald called it america's drone sickness. the atlantic put it obama's execution of the drone war should terrify even drone defenders. i wonder if you think his administration will get the same
treatment, deserving treatment that the bush administration got after the iraq war? >> you know, i think there's the potential there, and this is going sort of way down the line where there's a precedent that's set by obama sort of accepting a lot of what bush did and also expanding it in many ways. if you expand presidential power that way, that means your successor or the successor successor will take it and expand it further. we could look back a generation from now and say this was the starting point. this was the moment of certain presidential power on the drones, for instance, or the kill list where this was institutionalized. i think there's a possibility for something like that. >> i think also -- go ahead, kurt. >> that's sort of the issue of why the book is "500 days." the policies we're talking about in that period, they've been revised and refined, but they're what we're dealing with now. you know, the armed drones went up about six days after 9/11.
you know, we started down that path. when you have the realities here of the -- what i was talking about, the complexities of dealing with terrorist organizations, you know, you pursue whatever you can. >> okay. well, kurt, thank you very much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. up next, take aaway from the politics. what's the right way to remember a day like today. to be respectful but not dwell on the past. a conversation a lot of us are having with friends and family today. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+.
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it's been 11 years since the 9/11 attacks. there's a generation for people for whom it's an attack on pearl harbor. it's something read in a history book or 24 hour news cycle seen on tv every year. how do we move forward and not re-open deep wounds and yet always remember the importance of this day? is there even a right way to do that? you know, the jfk example we have there in the open is kind of interesting to me, because i remember as a kid it was the 25th or 30th anniversary of jf k's assassination. pbs ran the live coverage from
cbs. it was the first time i relived that day. i can understand what my parens and their generation had sperned watching that. what i couldn't get from that experience was what it felt like to live in a world before that had happened, before the idea of something like that happening was on their radar, before those memories entered their with them forever. i think of the same thing with 9/11 because i can vividly remember what my life was and what all of our lives were like september 10th, 2001, and before when something like this really was not on our radar day-to-day, and really, you know, how it just changed so profoundly then. i don't know that you could ever communicate what it felt like to be live on september 10th, 2011. >> you couldn't because it was unimaginable, an attack on american soil. a basic understanding of what america was was broken. you can never explain what it was like. i had an amazing sort of deep moment. i was going to the high line
which in new york is on the west side of new york with my kids on sunday, and we passed by sort of ground zero memorial, picture of this firefighter amid the rubble, and my son, who you see there, saw it. he's 4, and he said, what's that? and, you know, he cease firefighters and he's like i want to know what that is. he saw there's something heavy going on here. the man is amidst rubbles, looks like he crying. and you can't lie to a 4-year-old and say it's nothing. he knows something heavy is happening here. and you don't want to lie to them. i want them to know this major thing that's part of american history, that's part of new york history happened. it's a death in the family. it still affects us. the uncle who has gone before you but everybody still talks about him and thinks about him, he's still part of the family. and i did my best to try to explain to him that, you know, like something really bad happened, and he's trying to deal with it and to clean it up and to make us strong again,
but, you know, you can't communicate, as you were saying, the pain of that. it never ends. the mourning never goes away. >> it's sort of a strange barrier when you and your kids because i have a daughter who is about your son's age, 4 years old, and i feel really grateful she hasn't asked me, she hasn't seen the tv coverage. there she is right there. that's ella. she hasn't seen the tv coverage. because she would ask the question, and she wouldn't let it go with the sugar coated version. she would want to know the whole truth, and something that we've talked about and that she really struggles to understand in other contexts is how people do bad things, why people do bad things, what evil is, where that comes from. and it's a very challenging thing to explain to kids, and the other thing now living here in new york, working in new york, being away from her all during the day, i think that she would also be very sensitive to concerns about if i'm not seeing mommy, could this happe again? >> sure. >> so, you know, i wonder when she's going to find out about it and how that conversation is going to go, but as you were
saying, steve, i don't think if you didn't live through it, if you don't remember that moment when you got the news, if you don't remember those hours that you spent huddled in front of the tv with your family, your friends, by yourself, whatever it was -- >> wondering where people are and calling around and -- >> if you don't have that sense of what it was before and what it was after, you can only get it on sort of an intellectual level. >> you will never feel it the way that we felt it and -- >> well, i certainly -- i want nothing more -- we talked about this at the beginning of the show, i want nothing more than to move on and feel like we can put this away, but i know, i am still so angry. i am angry at what happened. i am angry at what i saw. i am angry at what i know and the world that's changed now. i don't know that that goes away. i want it to, believe me, but there are sop thinsome thing yo don't unsee and you don't unknow, and you don't unlearn. it's still very close to the
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for a good few weeks now this idea of dog whistle races and racial coding has been zipping around the airwaves. promoting the theory that republicans are speaking in a kind of code meant to remind their white kin folk that the president is, in fact, a black man. words like welfare reform, chicago, angry, and crime are agencied by some to mean morning just welfare reform, chicago, angry and crime. i'm not making light of this or
singling anyone out or minimizing the fact that raisism is real. in fact, my biggest issue with this politically timed word policing project is that it does just that. it's startling unseriously diminishes real racism. real racism is self-evident. it doesn't require coding or subliminal messaging and it exists within both parties. in policies and in rhetoric and is perpetuated by people of all skin colors. the other problem is that it requires no homework, no fact checking, no sources, no citations. all it requires is someone to say it's so. the only way to know whether mitt romney is using welfare reform to brick up racist white people's ears is to ask him and hope he answers truthfully. or maybe someone will get lucky and stumble upon the secret e-mail files where this plot to dog whistle racist america into action is lied out. short of that, all that's required to promote the idea that romney and other republicans are racist, not a small charge, is someone simply
saying so, using pseudosociological language. that's dangerous and, sadly, takes away from real and important conversations we could be having about race. we could be indulging in our dialogue about policies, liberal and conservative, that don't work instead of stifling dialogue by banning arbitrary records like chicago and angry from the republican lexicon. i applaud people, many of whom are my colleagues, who tackle racial inequality, but there are many better ways to do it. okay. that's does it for "the cycle." martin, it's all yours. >> thank you and good afternoon from new york on this tuesday, september the 11th, a day of remembrance but also a day to look forward as we are now just eight weeks away from that first tuesday in november when we will decide who will be commander in chief for the next four years.